Update: The headlines are misleading. This phone is not by Google, but will be able to run “Android”, the Googley operating sytem from the Open Handset Alliance. This is an important development but different from a true phone from Google.
There are reports that a Google Phone or gPhone will be out shortly. Here are some pictures. There is not much buzz about this yet so I’m not clear about the source of these rumors, but it makes sense to me that Google will put something out much earlier than the “middle of 2008” we’ve seen in a lot of reports.
Based on the early pix I’m not sure this device is going to win any design awards – looks more like a geek design than the stylish iPhone design that has helped make Apple the clear “smartphone to beat” and brought them such success in this market. However on balance I think that *cost* will be the key. If the gPhone can come in under $100 and do all the neat things promised by Android and the Open Handset Alliance, I think it’ll be so broadly adopted as to be an unstoppable mobile force.